London, Feb 18 (IANS) The British and the US governments have signed a $365 million bilateral deal to ensure the Royal Air Force fleet of heavy aircraft transporters continue to fly, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced on Saturday.
The C-17 heavy-lift aircraft are used by the RAF to transport troops, equipment and humanitarian aid to anywhere in the world, Xinhua reported.
With a maximum airspeed of around 820 kilometers per hour, the jets can transport 77 tonnes of cargo, equivalent to three Apache attack helicopters or a Challenger 2 tank, and has a wingspan equivalent to the length of five double-decker buses.
British Defense Minister Guto Bebb, who signed the Foreign Military Sale agreement, said: “This deal keeps them in the air into the next decade.”
The bilateral deal will deliver spares, design services, reliability and maintenance improvements, access to technical resources, and RAF aircrew and maintenance crew training programs.
It will sustain jobs in Britain through the support of a Boeing team at RAF Brize Norton, the home of the UK’s C-17 operators, 99 Squadron RAF. Further work will be carried out in the US at Boeing facilities in San Antonio, Texas.